Health Sciences & Human Services High Student spends month in Guadeloupe

This last summer Jovany Del Toro, a student at White Center’s Health Sciences & Human Services High School (HS3), spent a month of his vacation in the Caribbean on the French-speaking island of Guadeloupe with VISIONS Service Adventures, an international service learning program.

Del Toro was one of 23 high school students who accomplished community service projects while living in a small village on Marie-Galante, one of the archipelago islands off Guadeloupe’s southern coast.

The teen volunteers removed 90 deteriorated boards from boardwalk at Plage de Feuilliere and replaced by cutting and securing new boards. The participants also painted a mural at Capesterre Sports Stadium that depicted Guadeloupe and other Caribbean island nations and organized a summer day camp for island children.

The trip wasn’t all work for Del Toro and his peers. They learned firsthand about Guadeloupean culture during dinners with community members, playing soccer with local kids, and through lessons with local crafts people. The group also snorkeled in turquoise blue waters, hiked to a dormant volcano, visited an immense artisans market, and explored another nearby island.

“Service in the cross-cultural context allows teens the opportunity to make a difference and, just as important, know the people whose lives they are impacting in personal, mutually respectful ways,” says Katherine Dayton, VISIONS Executive Director. “We give students tangible ways to be challenged through ambitious service work, thereby developing resilience and self-confidence, and realizing their potential in this world.”

VISIONS Service Adventures operates high school and middle school volunteer travel programs in Central and South America, the Caribbean West Indies, United States, Asia and Africa.

“Each of our program locations is unique,” Dayton added, “but all provide primary ingredients of community service, cultural immersion, adventure and opportunities to explore places off the tourist track.”

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